Drawing Healthy Boundaries
By: Kristine Brown
“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” - Jeremiah 31:25 ESV
One Sunday afternoon, after church, we enjoyed food and conversation with friends at our favorite restaurant. As we waited for our meal, my friend’s daughter played a game on her phone. The game centered around a cute little empty cup, waiting to be filled with water.
The player’s task seemed simple. Draw a boundary line from the spout to the cup, so the water would fill it up. If you filled the cup to the top, the cup would smile at you. But if your crooked boundaries caused the water to spill out instead, the cup donned a sad face.
This little girl made it look so effortless. She swiped her finger across the screen with ease, allowing the water to follow the boundary lines and fill to overflowing. “See? It’s easy!” as she offered me a turn. I soon discovered drawing the right boundaries wasn’t so simple after all.
Time and time again I tried to scribble the right lines to keep the water where it belonged. Time and time again my boundaries would break. I watched the water tip the poor unsuspecting cup over and couldn’t help but think of my current situation.
I sometimes struggle drawing appropriate boundaries in life, too. Thankfully, God wants to replenish us when the circumstances of life leave us feeling empty. But He needs us to prioritize spending time with Him, which could mean limiting other things that fill up our schedules.
“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25 ESV
This passage in Jeremiah shows a beautiful picture of God as our Restorer. After many years away, God’s people could look forward to returning home. They would know without a doubt that God “never leaves us or forsakes us.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) He longs to bring us back to a close relationship with Him, which is where we discover our best selves. Because by restoring our connection with Him, God also restores our spirits.
Daily demands can pull us in so many directions. We hear messages and read articles encouraging “self-care” but still wonder how this self-care will help us check off everything on our growing to-do lists. Struggle ensues when we attempt to create boundaries for a healthier life while still striving to do ALL the things. It just doesn’t work. That’s when the boundaries fail and our cups tip over - instant frowny-face.
By drawing boundaries, we are creating a place for God to do His restoring work.
I love the word “replenish” in today’s verse. It reminds me of the smile on my young friend’s cup when she played the game with expert care. Is it possible to have a smile like that? Will prioritizing time with God give me a greater sense of His peace in my life? The answer to these questions is a resounding yes. God will guide us as we seek to realign our schedules and allow more time being in His presence. Psalm 23:3 reaffirms God’s steadfast desire to give your soul the refreshment it needs. “He restores my soul.” The New International Version puts it this way, “He refreshes my soul.”
Drawing boundaries may be as simple as committing ten minutes a day reading God’s Word. Or it may result in more difficult decisions. Whatever we face, we know God draws us closer to Him when we resolve to draw boundary lines. For our health, relationships, families, and our lives. Let’s try once again to put appropriate boundaries in place today. God is waiting to replenish our weary souls. He wants to fill our cups until we are full of joy.
Read more from Kristine Brown about What the Bible Says About Being Busy at her website, kristinebrown.net. You’ll find weekly encouragement there to help you “become more than yourself through God’s Word.” Kristine is the author of the book, Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan, and the devotional version for teen girls.
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